POWER COLLECTIVE

Bakari Wallace, Ife Williams, Michael Davis and Ethen Pollard: "We are shifting the power to the oppressed people who do the work, not in a metaphorical way, but to actually having decision-making power."

PHOTO BY MICHELLE STOCKER

For the fifth year, Cap Times reporters asked several Madisonians to share their "bright ideas" for the new year. We will publish the 2018 edition of Bright Ideas throughout the next week.

It’s difficult to navigate what it means to be a radical black scholar that is dedicated to community while meeting whatever requirements the academy sets. Black communities are often exploited when it comes to research, without anything being reciprocated. So we wanted to work alongside and with communities, on their terms, to think about how to address issues here in Madison and issues affecting black communities broadly.

We are partnering with the nonprofit community group Freedom Inc. and its youth corps on a No Cops In Schools campaign to end the practice of hiring police officers to patrol inside Madison public schools.

The youth have conceptualized what safety and accountability in the schools look like, and it does not include police.

Research shows no connection between having police officers in schools and “positive outcomes.” We are positioning the community as experts in what they need.

Anything we produce is secondary; the power of the people is first.

This work has been done for decades. We are connected to a legacy of people doing this work, it’s nothing new.

But this work requires paradigm shattering. We need to destroy the paradigm we currently operate from. We are shifting the power to the oppressed people who do the work, not in a metaphorical way, but to actually having decision-making power.

It is an opportunity for the university to practice what it preaches, to create “inclusive” diversity and embody that as an academic institution.

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